Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday and Lent

It's Ash Wednesday! Woo hoo! Technically, you shouldn't be celebrating today. After all, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a season of quiet penitence.

But me? Well, I get excited. It's the beginning of a challenge, a time to stretch ourselves in order to grow closer to God, a time of increased prayer and focus on attaining life beyond this world.

It's a time set aside to call attention to doing better.

Call me crazy, but I think of the season of lent as a great gift and I'm ripping off the wrapping paper like a little kid at a birthday party, excited to see what's inside.

What's inside for me this year? Here's what I've come up with to grow closer to God this Lenten season:

  • I'm going to bed earlier. I've become quite a night owl lately. Hitting the hay before midnight has become a rarity for me. And it's not like I'm up late doing dishes or folding laundry. I'm watching movies or reading blogs or fiddling around on facebook. This, as can be expected, doesn't make for the prettiest of mornings.

  • I'm getting up earlier. The ability to sleep in is one of the perks of homeschooling. But not having to get up at 6am doesn't mean waking up at 8, or occasionally 9, makes a whole lot of sense. For the next forty days I'll be climbing out from under the covers while the kids are still snuggled in their beds, quietly sneaking downstairs and starting my day off with a real purpose.

  • I'm going to read the daily Mass readings. During those quiet moments by myself each morning, I'll head over to, click on Today's Mass and spend some time reading that day's readings, psalms and Gospel. {A Catholic reading the Bible! But they don't do that! (/sarcasm/) }

  • I'm going to fast. Not every day, but today (Ash Wednesday) and on Fridays. Technically, I don't have to because I'm still nursing. But the nursing right now is more of a comfort than a sustenance thing so I'm choosing to fast this year. I'll be following the "one main meal and two smaller meals that, when combined, do not equal more than the one main meal." Here is what I'll be eating today:
        • Breakfast: 1 cup of coffee, one plain pancake
        • Lunch (main meal): salad, garlic bread, pear, milk
        • Dinner: one bean burrito (no toppings), water 

I've got loftier goals. Goals, though, that will have to wait for a different season of my life. When the kids are older, I'd love to have a Lenten season filled with forty Masses. And when they've left the nest, I foresee a Lent with forty days of praying outside of an abortion mill. And when Mr Ordinary is retired, I picture a Lenten pilgrimage to The Vatican.

But for now, these are my plans. This is what I can do. And I'm excited to begin my Lenten journey.


jo(e) said...

Going to bed earlier? I'm going to steal that one. I've been too sleep-deprived lately.

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